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A Big Belly Boosts Your Risk of Dementia

April 17, 2008 | 47,064 views

belly, stomachA big belly in your 40’s can boost your risk of Alzheimer‘s disease decades later.

Previous research has already shown that obesity raises your chances of developing dementia, but a new study found a separate risk from storing fat in your abdomen. Even people who weren‘t overweight were endangered.

Abdominal fat, sometimes described as making people apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Now dementia can be added to that list.

The study involved over 6,500 people who were monitored for an average of 36 years. Compared to people with normal body weight and a low belly measurement, people with normal body weight and high belly measurements were 89 percent more likely to have dementia. And the risk increased among overweight and obese people with high belly measurements.

It’s not known why abdominal fat may promote dementia, but it may pump out substances that harm your brain, the researchers said.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Half of all U.S. adults have “central obesity,” according to this study’s authors, and having a “beer belly” or an apple-shaped body is a pretty good indication that you’ve got an excess of insulin which cause an increase of visceral fat: a dangerous type of fat that shows up in your abdomen and surrounds your vital organs including your liver, heart and muscles.

Visceral fat is linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke, among many other chronic diseases. And while a big belly is an obvious sign, you can have too much visceral fat even if you’re thin.

It may seem strange that fat in your stomach could impact your brain, but it makes perfect sense when you realize that your body is entirely interconnected. And even your fat cells, which many incorrectly believe are just inert blobs, are an active and intelligent part of your body, producing hormones that impact your liver, immune system, your ability to reproduce, and, yes, even your brain.

In fact, fat tissue, combined with macrophages -- key immune system cells -- produce powerful substances that assist in regulating your body's immune system. Some theorize fat became closely connected to immune function over time because your body needs energy when threatened.

A surplus of these substances, researchers say, likely triggers unnecessary inflammation, which could explain why excess fat increases the chances of so many ailments like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Well, it also helps explain why excess fat is linked to Alzheimer’s, as inflammation is thought to contribute to the brain damage that triggers this disease. But why belly fat, in particular, appears to raise the risk even further is still a mystery.

How to Get Rid of Belly Fat

One of the best ways to get rid of this dangerous, deep-seated fat is appropriate exercise, as it will help to lower your insulin level, which is the primary driver of visceral fat production.

In one study, volunteers who did not exercise had an 8.6 percent increase in visceral fat after eight months, while those who exercised the most lost 8 percent of their visceral fat during that time.

On a positive note, exercise was found to take the fat away quickly. Volunteers who jogged for 17 miles each week had significant decreases in visceral fat, subcutaneous abdominal fat, which lies under the skin, and total abdominal fat.

And if you combine a regular exercise program with a healthy eating program, you will be well on your way to a healthier life.

What Else Can You do to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia?

Plenty. At least 5.2 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's. By 2010, there will be 500,000 new cases each year, and nearly 1 million new cases annually by 2050. So now is the time to implement the following steps, which can help to keep your brain in optimal working order:
  • Lower Your Insulin Levels. Since elevated insulin levels are the primary driver for these increased fat stores and secondarily dementia, you will want to limit, or in some cases eliminate, your intake of sugar, grains like wheat, oats, rice, potatoes and corn as they will drive your insulin levels higher.
  • Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of vegetables based on your nutritional type, and pay special attention to avoiding sugar
  • Eat plenty of high-quality omega-3 fats, such as krill oil or fish oil. Avoid most fish (high in omega-3, but often contaminated with mercury).
  • Avoid and remove mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of mercury, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in Take Control of Your Health, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
Be careful as you could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire like I did if you see a conventional dentist to do the exchange. ONLY see a high-quality, biologically trained dentist or your health could get ruined.
  • Avoid aluminum, such as in antiperspirants, cookware, etc.
  • Avoid flu vaccinations as they contain both mercury and aluminum!
  • Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.
  • Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, such as traveling, learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease.

[+] Sources and References

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